From “Scorpion” to “Passage”. Robotic complexes help sappers








Scarab robot and operator’s console in a carrying case. Photo “SET-1” / set-1.ru

In recent years, in the interests of the Russian engineering troops, promising robotic systems have been developed for use in the search and disposal of explosive devices. Several sapper RTKs have already been adopted and are actively used in real operations. In addition, development work continues, and completely new samples may appear soon.

Lightweight platforms

To search for and neutralize explosive devices, sappers may need lightweight and compact RTKs that can literally crawl into any gap. The industry has already developed such equipment, and the International Mine Action Center of the Russian Armed Forces managed to test it in real conditions.

One of the first and most useful RTKs of this kind was the “Scarab” from the “SET-1” company. The basis of the complex is a compact and lightweight (355x348x155 mm, less than 5.5 kg) four-wheeled remote-controlled platform with two-way radio communication with the operator. “Scarab” carries a video camera and allows reconnaissance within a radius of 250 m from the operator. In the basic configuration, such a RTK provides collection of information in a variety of conditions.


“Scorpion” with the barbell extended. Photo “SET-1” / set-1.ru

Last year, “SET-1” presented for testing a new RTK “Scorpion”, made on the basis of the “Scarab”. It features movable rods and hooks, as well as improved running characteristics. The main task of the “Scorpion” is to remove the so-called. stretch marks. The robot can detect a taut wire and then accelerate and rip it off with the raised rods. The high speed of movement protects it from fragments and blast waves. Also, the RTK can be used to transport engineering charges, etc.

The light “Scarab” has already passed tests in Syria and received high marks, although it was noted that there was no opportunity to interact with the detected objects. The newer “Scorpion” has been tested in the conditions of the test site. Until the end of 2020, it can be adopted by the engineering troops.

“Cobra” with a manipulator

In a number of situations, sappers need a remotely controlled robot with a full-fledged manipulator suitable for interacting with objects. In our country, several similar systems of various kinds have been developed. In particular, since 2018, the engineering troops receive the RTK “Cobra-1600” developed by the Research Institute of Special Mechanical Engineering of the Moscow State Technical University. Bauman.


“Cobra-1600” at the test site. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru

“Cobra-1600” is a self-propelled tracked platform with a manipulator and a set of cameras. In the transport position, the product has dimensions of 850x420x550 mm, weight without additional equipment – 62 kg. The platform can move on different surfaces and overcome small obstacles. The control is carried out by cable or radio.

The design of the manipulator allows operation with an overhang of at least 900 mm from the platform body. Maximum lifting capacity (on smaller outreaches) 25 kg. The manipulator is equipped with a controlled gripper and can also carry additional equipment.

The robot is able to conduct reconnaissance, search and study suspicious objects. It is possible to move the detected object or influence it using additional means. Depending on the type of threat, Cobra-1600 can be used to neutralize it directly or to transport it to a safe place.

Together with a number of other modern samples for various purposes, “Cobra-1600” is included in the “Mobile engineering complex for demining” MICR. All facilities of the complex are transported by cars and are always ready for use. A few days ago, the Ministry of Defense announced the adoption of the MICR for the supply of engineering troops. Several such complexes have already been delivered to the troops.


RTK “Cobra-1600” and other components of the MICR. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru

Thus, now “Cobra-1600” is used both as an independent engineering tool and as part of a more complex multifunctional complex. At the same time, a platform with a manipulator is not the only example of its kind, which expands the capabilities of sapper units.

From the Uranus family

In the recent past, the 766th department of production and technological equipment “(766 UPTK) has developed a line of RTK” Uran “. On the basis of unified platforms, it is proposed to create armored vehicles of different classes with different capabilities. The first in this family was a sapper RTK “Uran-6”.

“Uran-6” is a 6-ton tracked armored vehicle with mountings for the installation of various engineering equipment. The tracked RTK has a 240 hp diesel engine. and is capable of continuously working up to 5 hours. Control is carried out from the operator’s console by means of two-way radio communication. The operator can be at a distance of at least 800 m from the “Uran-6”, which eliminates the risk of his defeat.


Complex “Uranus-6” with a trawl. Photo 766 UPTK / 766uptk.ru

The robot can use three types of trawls, as well as a mechanical gripper and a dozer-type blade. With such devices, the RTK is able to carry out excavation work, manipulate large objects or carry out continuous trawling of a strip 1.7 m wide. Dangerous objects are mechanically destroyed or undermined by the impact of the trawl.

According to calculations, one robot “Uran-6” is capable of replacing 20 man-sappers. In doing so, the machine assumes all risks and does not endanger the operator. The high characteristics of the RTK were confirmed during the acceptance tests that took place in dangerous areas of the Chechen Republic. Subsequently, Uran-6 products were used in the demining of the Syrian territory. Both on landfills and in real conditions, the RTK demining showed itself in the best way.

Based on the tank

Experience shows that even a serial tank chassis can become the basis for a robotic complex. This approach was implemented in the project of the RTK demining “Pass-1”, developed on the basis of the existing engineering vehicle BMR-3MA. The revision of the existing sample was carried out by VNII Signal.


Prototype RTK “Pass-1”. In the background is a control car with operators’ seats. Photo Vitalykuzmin.net

The BMR-3MA armored demining vehicle is built on the chassis of the T-90A main tank and retains its main units. At the same time, enhanced mine protection and nodes for the installation of trawling equipment are used. Compatibility with modern roller mine sweepers KMT-7 and KMT-8 is ensured. In its basic configuration, the BMR-3MA is operated by a crew of two and can carry three sappers.

The “Pass-1” project provides for equipping the engineering machine with additional control devices that provide autonomous operation or the execution of operator commands. Operators’ workplaces are located in a separate machine. After such an upgrade, the BMR-3MA retains all its basic functions and target characteristics. At the same time, the advantages associated with the removal of the crew to a safe distance are achieved.

In 2016, the Signal VNII and the Ministry of Defense successfully conducted state tests of the Pass-1. The equipment has confirmed its capabilities, and its developer announced its readiness to establish a serial production of equipment kits for the BMR-3MA. Later, “Pass-1” was shown at exhibitions and on television. In 2017, there was news about the supply of serial BMR-3MA for engineering units, but the adoption of the Prokhod-1 kit has not yet been reported.

General ideas

Thus, in just a few years, a number of serial robotic systems of different classes and for various purposes appeared in the Russian engineering troops. Both compact portable systems and large heavy armored vehicles were put into operation. All of them have passed the necessary tests and proved their capabilities. A number of samples even managed to participate in real mine clearance operations in our country and abroad.


Uran-6 is trawling. Photo 766 UPTK / 766uptk.ru

It is curious that, despite their differences, all modern and promising projects are based on the same ideas. Equipment from “Scorpion” to “Pass-1” is created with one goal – to ensure the performance of engineering tasks in hazardous conditions without risks to humans. All robotic demining systems are capable of operating at a considerable distance from the operator. Experience has shown that the ideas of maximum human safety can be implemented using different platforms and target equipment.

To date, in the interests of sapper units, a number of samples of different classes with different capabilities have been created. This technique has occupied all the proposed niches and shows itself well when performing educational and real-life tasks. It is obvious that the development of sapper RTKs must continue. This will make it possible to use the accumulated experience and introduce new technologies, thanks to which more advanced designs will appear.

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